Norwegian State Railways connects to with on-board wi-fi

Norwegian State Railways connects to with on-board wi-fi

NSB, the major passenger rail company in Norway, has introduced wireless internet on 114 of its trains with at least 27 more to follow.

The development is a boon in a country where numerous tunnels, mountains and limited mobile phone reception makes broadband connectivity a challenge. 

The four-year project has been managed by rail communications specialist Nomad Digital.

NSB has ordered 50 new Stadler trains which are also equipped with the Nomad solution.

The first 23 trains have been delivered, with an additional 27 trains under production by Stadler in Switzerland.

Background

Norges Statsbaner (NSB) is owned by the government of Norway and serves over 52 million passengers a year, offering local, intercity and long-distance services.

In order to serve its passengers better, NSB required a broadband train connectivity solution for multiple purposes including passenger internet and operational applications.

Challenge

Because of Norway’s varying mobile signals, the solution needed to have the ability for the moving train to switch between a number of different of mobile operators, including nationwide broadband 450 MHz coverage in areas without 3G coverage.

NSB also required a system that could be upgraded in future to be able to switch to new technologies as they become available.

Solution

Based on Nomad’s products and experience with other train companies (including Heathrow Express and Southern services in the UK), Nomad was selected by NSB as part of a formal tender process.

Due to Norway’s challenging topography where mobile signals can be intermittent, Nomad’s ability to maximise available radio networks and bandwidth in conjunction with its network know-how, was seen as critical in order to provide a robust passenger experience.
Real-time passenger information systems.

In addition to the platform to deliver passenger internet access, NSB also required a portal where passengers can log-on to and gain real-time information about their journey, including key information about the destination that they are heading to.

Nomad’s Fleetmanager system and Service Desk is used for the added purpose to report errors on the system. Real-time position data from the Nomad system is also used in other operational systems, and, combined with data from a range of other sources, gives the operational headquarters a good view of traffic on the national railway network.

“It’s important that the system is always up and running because passengers rely on it for up-to-the-minute information and the company needs continual maintenance updates,” said Eirik Haave-Johansen, account manager at Nomad Digital.